2017 NZ Book Awards

Three of the shortlisted fiction books could take out the Ockham’s top prize in 2017. (Wish there’d been time to read shortlisters from the other categories too, but alas.)

With literary giants like Stead and Marshall at the helm of this section and powerhouse Chidgey snapping at their heels it is no surprise this a three way race. (In our humble opinions.) Billy Bird, unfortunately, didn’t float our boats.

What Stead brings to the competition is a neatly packaged recap of his career and his genius – how could any fan resist buying, reading and loving this story story collection, The Name On The Door Is Not Mine? And it delivers the expected punch, and poetic beauty, too.

Marshall delivers as expected also, with Love As A Stranger, which is not heavy on plot, but is an expertly crafted examination of the human psyche, something that he masters time and time again.

After several years without a new novel, Chidgey returns to the literary world with a bang, with The Wish Child. It is an emotional book full of suffering, grief, irony and dark humour and shows she is a force to be reckoned with.

So, all three deserve the win, we believe. Who will the judges side with? Who do we side with? Let’s say our buck lies with Chidgey, by a nose.

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